Fundraising is a busy business.

There’s always more to do than you can get done.

Can I get an ‘amen’?

If you’re like me, I sometimes feel like I’m on a raft moving swiftly down a raging river and I just dropped my paddle.

Life moves fast! Sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

One thing I love about the holidays is the chance to hit the “pause” button on our busy lives.

It’s like a free pass to relax and reflect. Maybe even count your blessings.

There’s a lot for a nonprofit to be grateful for. Staying in gratitude will help you notice and appreciate what’s going on around you, which will put you in a more relaxed head space.

Try this exercise: Grab a pen and paper and jot down the answers to these questions. Practice being grateful for each one. Then see if you feel different afterward (I bet you will!).

1. Your favorite food. Think about how it smells when it’s cooking. Does it remind you of a special time?

2. Your favorite season of the year. What do you love most about that season?

3. Your favorite holiday. What’s your favorite memory of that holiday?

4. Your favorite sound. What does it remind you of?

5. Your favorite hobby or relaxing activity. How do you feel when you’re engaged in it?

6. Your favorite work activity. How does it make you feel when you’re doing it?

7. What technology are you grateful for? How does it make your life or your work easier?

8. What abilities are you grateful for? How are you using them to help others?

9. What knowledge are you grateful for? How often do you use it? Where did you learn it?

10. What people in your life are you grateful for? How do they impact your world?

11. What tradition in your life are you grateful for?

12. What small thing that you use daily are you grateful for? How does it help you?

Here are my answers:

1. My favorite food is cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. No big surprise to friends and family! I also love pizza from my local pizza joint and homemade chili.

2. My favorite season is summer. I love the long days, the sunshine, and the warm temperatures. I love cutting grass (I know, I’m weird!) and being outside.

3. My favorite holiday has to be Christmas. I love the excitement of it. I love decorating. I love how my little town is all decorated with giant snowflakes hung from the utility poles and a giant tree in front of the courthouse. I love adopting kids from the Angel Tree and I love shopping for treats for others.

4. My favorite sound is when my horses nicker. I love when they “talk” to me. Of course, they’re usually telling me to hurry up with their dinner!

5. My favorite hobby is quilting. I have a whole bedroom in my house taken up with sewing machines, tons of fabric, and dozens of projects that are in various stages of progress. I love the creative process of choosing a pattern and fabric, then watching it come together.

6. My favorite work activity when I was a Development Director was opening the mail. I loved seeing the checks and entering them into the computer. And this time of year, it was exciting!! I remember one time finding a check for $10,000 from a new donor! Woohoo!! I called them immediately to thank them and found out it was part of an inheritance along with the reasons why they believed in our work.

7. I’m grateful for scanners. I think it’s awesome that we can scan something and email it instead of mailing or faxing. Although I remember when we thought faxing was amazing! (Ok, I just admitted I’m old!)

8. I’m so grateful for my ability to listen and be fully present with someone. People trust me and tell me a lot of very personal things, and I don’t treat that lightly. I’m so grateful to be the one they feel comfortable telling their innermost thoughts. I’m quite honored, actually.

9. I’m most grateful for my knowledge of fundraising, and that I’ve found a way to help others with it. It’s surreal some days when I look around and see the business I’ve built helping folks raise money for good causes. I’m humbled and happy to work in this field every day.

10. I’m grateful for friends and family who enrich my life and tolerate my craziness. I’m grateful for my clients (the best clients in the world!) who trust me to support them. I’m grateful for my team and the way we do a lot of good in the world.

11. The tradition I’m grateful for is baking cookies during the holidays. Almost every year since my kids were little, we make chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with icing. Some years my Mom does it and some years I do, but there are always cookies!

12. The small thing I use daily that I’m grateful for is my hair dryer. I don’t like having wet hair. I’m grateful that I can plug it in, dry my hair and be on my way.

Here are some other things I’m grateful for:

  1. The smell of rain on a hot summer day.
  2. My favorite song on the radio.
  3. Clean sheets on my bed.
  4. The smell of cut grass.
  5. Finding money I had forgotten about in a jacket pocket.
  6. The way my dogs always greet me with a smile.
  7. A cat in my lap on a cold day.
  8. The smell of the ocean.
  9. My favorite pillow.
  10. A glass of red wine.
  11. Long weekends.
  12. Looking at old photos.
  13. Pizza and a movie at home.
  14. A good belly laugh.
  15. Eating blueberries right off the bush.
  16. Going to the store to buy something then finding it on sale.
  17. A hot shower.
  18. Making something myself.
  19. Planting flowers.


How about you? What are you grateful for?